DA fed-up with Gwede Mantashe energy plan

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‘Mantashe is blocking every attempt to secure energy supply,’ says DA

Mantashe says the DA-run City of Cape Town must talk to him instead of going to court.

DA fed-up with Gwede Mantashe energy plan

Image via: Gallo

In what appears to be a he-said, she-said exchange, the Democratic Alliance (DA) started off by saying that Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe is back to dithering. 

According to the blue party, Mantashe has accused the “DA-run Western Cape and City of Cape Town of behaving like spoilers” for taking him and his department to court over the city’s bid to purchase electricity directly from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).   

In an interview with energy expert Chris Yelland, Mantashe is quoted as saying: “The City of Cape Town must talk to us instead of going to court.”

DA claims the court case is ‘years in the making’ 

According to DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Kevin Mileham, the city followed all due process and applied for a section 34 determination to allow it to purchase directly from IPPs in November 2015 — it was allegedly met with obstruction and unwillingness — on the part of various ministers and the Department of Energy.

“The DA is committed to ensuring that all residents and businesses receive the electricity they need. We are committed to an open and transparent electricity market where all power producers (including Eskom) compete on a level playing field,” said Mileham. 

“It is for this reason that we introduced the Independent Electricity Management Operator private member’s bill to Parliament, to allow IPPs to sell to the grid and to allow metropolitan municipality the capability and resources to purchase directly from IPPs,” he added. 

Mantashe is all talk and no action 

Mileham says Mantashe has blocked every attempt to move forward with energy supply. 

“The fact of the matter is that Minister Mantashe is all talk, and no action. He claims the city must withdraw its case and interact with him. But for five years, he and his predecessors have blocked every attempt to move forward and allow the city to secure its own energy supply,” said Mileham. 

“If it takes a court case to get him to move on this issue, so be it,” he added. 

Mantashe deemed a ‘lunatic’ 

At Mantashe’s post State of the Nation Address (SONA), on Thursday 20 February, he alluded to a new electricity generation entity outside of Eskom. 

The DA jumped on it calling his suggestion “lunacy”. 

“He did not mention it during the SONA debates, nor did President Cyril Ramaphosa. There is no mention of it in the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy Annual Performance Plan, nor has it been discussed in any other forum to date,” argued Mileham. 

“It, therefore, appears that the Minister is floating a trial balloon to centralize this new entity (and indeed all electricity production) under his control,” he added.